With Johnson leading the Sprint Cup drivers with three victories this season and Keselowski one of five two-time winners, for the second time in three years, the title fight could well come down to these two drivers and their respective teams.
That’s the way it was in 2012, when Johnson faltered in the final two races of the season and Keselowski gave team owner Roger Penske his first Cup championship.
And once again, it’s a clash of the Titans: Johnson looked unstoppable in winning three races out of four at Charlotte, Dover and Michigan, and then Keselowski utterly drubbed the field Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, where he won the Quaker State 400.
Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team and Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske squad don’t like each other much, a situation not likely to improve.
After his victory Saturday night, Keselowski made no bones about wanting another title and wanting it now.
"I turned 30 and I’m going through a bit of a midlife crisis," said Keselowski. "I want to win another championship. I don’t want to just win one. I think I have the team to do it, with Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) and the guys. I have the owner to do it with Roger Penske, and the urgency is now.
"I don’t want to win one championship and that be it for my career," said Keselowski. "I’m not going to be happy with that. And I want to win another championship, but I don’t want it to be five or ten years from now. I don’t want to be a guy that contends for a championship every three or four years, I want to do it each and every year, and I know that opportunity is here, and it’s present, and I want to make the most of it, and I’m not afraid to communicate that."
To do that, of course, Keselowski will have to defeat Johnson and the rest of the four-car Hendrick Motorsports armada. With the Sprint Cup Series sesson just one race short of halfway, Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. lead the points with Keselowski behind in fourth.
Keselowski and Earnhardt are close friends; in fact, Keselowski lives in a rented house on Earnhardt’s tract in North Carolina. That kind of would leans towards the natural rivalry being Johnson vs. Keselowski.
Whether the rhetoric and rancor escalate remains to be seen; what isn’t in question is how fierce the competition already is between the two.